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Bells at Killcare

Just 90-minutes from Sydney on the picturesque Bouddi Peninsula is Bells at Killcare, a boutique resort on the Central Coast.  With just 25 cottages set amongst eight acres of landscaped and established gardens, this is a most beautiful and relaxing adults-only retreat.

Palm Beach Wharf

Palm Beach Wharf

Bells is owned and managed by Brian and Karina Barry who have had many years in the hospitality industry.  Karina used to work at Rockpool and then for 16 years Brian and Karina were managing the Hunter Valley Resort.  They purchased Bells eight years ago and have totally transformed the resort with many more plans for the future.

Passengers boarding the ferry to the Central Coast

Passengers boarding the ferry to the Central Coast

There are many ways to get to Bells and some great options.  Obviously you can drive and Bells provides parking for all guests.  Alternatively, there is a helipad so you can land in your own helicopter.  If you don’t have a helicopter, an increasingly popular way to travel is to hop on a sea plane at Rose Bay and fly over Sydney Harbour and up the Northern Beaches to Hardys Bay where Kane, the resort’s chauffeur will meet you and drive you the few kilometres to the resort.  Packages are available that include travel and dinner or travel, dinner and accommodation.  If you’re on a bit more of a budget you might like to do what Carl and I did and catch the ferry to Wagstaff where Kane will meet you and the ferry ride will only cost around $10/person.

Alighting the water taxi at Wagstaff

Alighting the water taxi at Wagstaff.  There’s the ferry on the left and spot the seaplane on the right

Parking at Palm Beach isn’t too much of an issue and so with that accomplished we walked the short distance to the wharf.  However, we were told the ferry we were expecting was filling with water and if we’d prefer not to have a Titanic experience, we would have to wait for another ferry.  But then a good Samaritan turned up, the water taxi guy and he said he would take passengers to Wagstaff for $10/person.  Bargain!  With its 300HP engine we certainly made up for lost time but as I was hanging on for dear life I was unable to take any scenic photos and this is a very scenic part of the world.  When Kane met us at the other end I was looking similar to Bridget Jones after her ride in the convertible.

Bells courtesy shuttle

One of Bells courtesy shuttle vehicles


Bells Killcare

Bells Killcare

The check-in process is smooth and relaxed with the staff being well-groomed, polite and friendly.  It’s so nice to be met with a smile!  There’s no repetitive questions like, ‘So how’s your day been so far?’ either.  What a relief!  Kane drove us down to our cottage which was near the pond and situated in a very quiet and serene part of the resort.

The entrance of the main building at Bells

The entrance of the main building at Bells

The cottages are free-standing and well separated from each other with gardens and fencing strategically postitioned to allow for privacy and tranquility.  We walked up a few steps to an undercover verandah then turned into the ground floor of the cottage.  The presentation is extremely clean and fresh in seascape colours of blue and neutral tones.  The lounge room was spacious with a gas fire and we very nearly needed to get it going as it was the last day of Spring and not warm at all.

A covered verandah

A covered verandah

The cottage also had a kitchenette with a welcoming bottle of chilled Prosecco and a spacious powder room.

A lovely welcoming touch

A lovely welcoming touch

Downstairs in the deluxe cottage

Downstairs in the deluxe cottage

A gas fireplace

A gas fireplace

Upstairs the master bedroom had a king-sized bed that was one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept on.  Karina told me they have had many clients who once having slept on their beds, then order them for their bedroom at home.

Master bedroom in the deluxe cottage

The pillow says, ‘Unwind’ – don’t mind if I do!

The bedroom is spacious with plenty of room to walk around and the room flows onto an outdoor sitting room that for us, captured the afternoon sunshine.

This deck caught the afternoon sunshine

This deck caught the afternoon sunshine

The bathroom is also generously proportioned with an enormous free-standing bath.  Bath salts are provided and these are made in the day spa with many of the ingredients coming from organic plants on the property, like lavender and rosemary.


Bathroom with fluffy white towels

The day spa makes all the spa products for the cottages so most things you need including shampoo, conditioner and body wash are provided in the bathrooms in large-sized bottles.  A great relief is that the lighting in the bathroom is good so there’s no issue with doing your make-up.

The pond with cottages in the background

The pond with cottages in the background

After we unpacked we went for a stroll around the grounds.  It’s a good idea to bring with you some good walking shoes as the resort is quite spread out and some of the paths are gravel.  The resort has lots of water features and I do love the look of fountains and the sound of trickling water.

We must stop this post to bring you a photo of a car.  Carl talked for 15 minutes about this car.  Long story short; it's a Lincoln Continental and the same type of car JFK was killed in.  We'll now move on...

We must stop this post to bring you a photo of a car. Carl talked for 15 minutes about this car. Long story short; it’s a Lincoln Continental and the same type of car JFK was killed in. We’ll now move on…

At the bottom of the property is a large pond where we saw lots of ducks and their ducklings waddling about or swimming.  On a neighbouring property there are sheep baaing so although you’re only an hour or so from Sydney, you really do feel that you left the city a long, long way behind you.

Wandering around Bells

Wandering around Bells

Walking through the main building at Bells, there is a sitting room where you can enjoy a quiet drink or sit and read a book.

Somewhere quiet to sit and read

Somewhere quiet to sit and read

There’s a private dining room with a magnificent ship along the back wall.  Karina told me the story of how the ship came to be at Bells.  Years ago, Alan Bond commissioned the building of the replica of the Endeavour, the ship Captain Cook sailed from England when he discovered Australia.  Alan Bond ended up not being able to complete the building of the replica of the Endeavour due to financial difficulties so it looked like the project would be aborted.  However, realising how significant the Endeavour is to Australia’s history, John Singleton, Brian and Karina’s friend and very supportive landlord, donated the money that was needed to finish the project.  The people involved were so grateful, they gave this ship to Singleton as a thank you.  And so here it sits in the private dining room at Bells.  It’s a stunning work of art and an impressive feature in the room.

Private dining room

Private dining room



An impressive focal point for the room

The main dining room flows onto a covered verandah with outdoor seating that leads to an expansive lawn with a water feature at the far end.  On the afternoon we arrived there was a wedding ceremony taking place on the lawn and then as the wedding party moved to the function room for their reception, I photographed the bride in her stunning gown that fitted her so perfectly.  She had a full veil for the ceremony but removed it for the reception.

The expansive lawn where a wedding had been held

The expansive lawn where a wedding had been held


The groom with his bride about to enter their wedding reception

The groom with his bride about to enter their wedding reception

The bar area

The bar area

The sitting room

The sitting room

 The Day Spa - this is as close as I got to having a treatment - you need to book in advance!

The Day Spa – this is as close as I got to having a treatment – you need to book in advance!


A lap pool

A lap pool


So peaceful and relaxing

A very tranquil setting and there’s enough outdoor chairs for every guest

There’s more to do at Bells Killcare than just sit by the pool or relax by the fire in the lounge room.  If you’d like more activity than lying by the pool, Bells will pack you up a picnic and you can bush walk to some of the beaches in the national park.  These beaches are very unspoilt and totally crowd-free.

One of the beaches you can bush walk to

One of the beaches you can bush walk to – looks a bit like paradise to me


You can spend the day exploring these waterways

You can spend the day exploring these waterways

Guests don’t just stay at Bells for the peace, serenity, tranquility and national park beaches, but also for the renowned and award-winning restaurant.  Bells Restaurant is run by Stefano Manfredi, a chef with over 3o-years of service to Australian hospitality.  In my next post I’ll bring you our dining experience.

One of three vegetable gardens and there's a scarecrow dressed as a chef!

One of three vegetable gardens and there’s a scarecrow dressed as a chef!

We had an incredibly relaxing and serene experience at Bells that was decidedly therapeutic.  It’s a great place for couples to go for a romantic getaway and also to de-stress.  Being so close to Sydney makes this the perfect getaway.

Verdict:  I didn’t want to leave.

Bells at Killcare:  107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights NSW 2257

Ph:  61 2 4349 7000

Hotly Spiced and crew stayed at Bells Killcare as guests of Brian and Karina Barry.

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  1. Take me back to Bells Charlie….

  2. WOW! What a beautiful place, like a dreamy place. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  3. Looks great, which is just as well because I’m heading there tomorrow! You’ve certainly got me excited about my stay Charlie :).

  4. What a gorgeous setting! So sorry that you did not get a spa treatment.

  5. Oh, this retreat is beautiful. I would not want to leave either.

  6. What an utterly charming place to relax. “Serene” as you said, but tastefully appointed as well.
    Too bad about the spa treatment, though. That just might have been the icing on the cake.

  7. A gorgeous place indeed. Just touring the grounds is a treat.

  8. You had me at day spa!

  9. Everyday I pack up food to send to the kitchen at Bells Killcare. I had no idea is quite that lovely.

  10. What a great place for a relaxing visit! And, beaches in walking distance–I wouldn’t want to leave either.

  11. I’m going to ask Santa for a months holiday here Charlie! But I have a bad feeling I’m on the naughty list….. 🙁 … X

  12. So, so beautiful! I would love a few months here in the peace and tranquility. I could happily get lost on those beaches and I’m not even a beach person!

  13. Sometimes you don’t have to go far to feel like you’ve been away for a week. Weekend breaks like this are too far apart for my liking!

  14. Oh Charlie, what a magnificent place to stay. Unwind is the word of the day for sure. That deck off the bedroom is divine and the gardens would captivate me for sure.

  15. We had a lovely stay there and the meal was a real highlight. I can’t wait until your next post! 😀

  16. What a beautiful spot! My aunt and uncle have a house at Kilcare and love it there. What a fantastic garden.

  17. Lovely! Must pass onto locals . . .

  18. It sounds like you had a great getaway Charlie! This is now on my list of places to visit. It looks fantastic! Wish I could go tomorrow (or now). 🙂

  19. I could live here…it’s just beautiful! So serene, peaceful, charming.

  20. G’day! Your photos and views relaxed me today Charlie, true!
    Too bad you did not get the full spa experience as is always an extra added bonus too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  21. My goodness but this place is gorgeous! Everything from the rooms to the outdoors–perfect! I would adore a stay at such a lovely place. And cheers to Carol for such a keen eye to connect a vehicle to history. I rather liked that…here I am an American, steeped in the story of JFK, and I wouldn’t have even noticed the car. Thank you, Carl. 🙂

  22. Wow. What a place! It sounds like everything has been thought of, and done beautifully.

  23. What a magnificent place! You are going to have to go back for that spa treatment though.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. Looks lovely and so relaxing! Wishing I could be there today. 🙂

  25. Wow, everything about this place is beautiful!!! I wish I could go…

  26. lovely shots

  27. Lovely! We’ve been hoping to make it up for a visit for years!

  28. What a gorgeous place to relax. Sound like you had the most wonderful experience.

  29. That looks like a little slice of heaven to me… I need to travel more! If I ever make it to Australia, I’m going to look you up!! 😉 xo

  30. Oh, what plush accommodations! Looks heavenly.
    PS. Bill and my boys would be all over that car, too 🙂

  31. I’ll bet you wouldn’t want to leave, what a wonderful little bit of heaven this place is. I’d love to run a resort like this! Wait, I think I’ll just go there instead:) As I was reading I was thinking it would be a great place for a wedding.. and it is!xx

  32. My first thought when I saw that picture of the Lincoln was whether Carl had bought another classic car! Anyway, this looks like a terrific place – what a nice place to have a holiday!

  33. Yeah I don’t want to leave too, if I was there! Very nice place – it’s cozy and elegant at the same time and I wish my house is organized and decorated like that. 😀 It’s been so cold here that looking at your pictures made me think that I need a second home in Australia. 😉

  34. “If you don’t have a helicopter”
    You mean you don’t have one? I thought everyone had one these days :p

    That looks like a lovely place Charlie – it must have been so relaxing, and “adults only” you say? Hmmmm, peaceful!

  35. Such a beautiful place relatively close to Sydney to put your feet up and relax 🙂 I really feel like a weekend getaway right now after such a horrible week!

  36. Well, I’d definitely take the helicopter, that’d be so handy. I’ve never been to Bell’s but know Bouddi NP and have camped there eons ago. It’s absolutely gorgeous there… staying in style – adults only – sounds HIGHLY appealing.


  1. […] when we went to Bells?  Well after our enormous degustation dinner you wouldn’t think we would be wanting a huge […]

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